Our Man In Canada
August 22nd, 2005

Does Fly Fishing Imitate Life
- Or does Life Imitate Fly Fishing?
By Chris Chin

Ever notice how (with a bit of imagination) the lessons learned on the water are easily transposed in to everyday life?

This week was particularly "exciting" at the office. In retrospective (or more precisely, post mortem analysis), I saw that many of the situations this week were caused by some people's lack of comprehension of the fundamentals (be it forestry science, project management, information technologies or laws and regulations).

This is not to say that to be able to cast a fly line that one needs to know the modulus of elasticity of the fly rod. One does however, (in my humble opinion,) need to grasp the basic underlying principle of moving an artificial from here - to out there.

Ever watch a fly fisher that "just seems to make it look easy?" Ever notice they all look very similar (but each with a unique profile). They're probably all working off the same framework of basic building blocks.

Marc Bergeron effortlessly laying out a short cast.

So what has all this got to do with the rant I started on in the first paragraph?

Well, it all comes down to folks who WANT or try to do something, but don't want to LEARN the basics. Technical report writing requires a solid grasp of the English language (well, French in my case). Forest resource management should be left to Foresters and not politicians and lawyers (sorry, couldn't resist).

Case in point: When we were out on the river last fall a nice trout breeched about 45 feet out in the #8. Junior was casting to another pod 30 feet down stream. First thing he did in preparation to casting up and over, 65 feet to the new target, he spooled UP 15 feet of line and went back to the basics and a straight forward single haul cast.

And connects!

Look back for a moment into your past. You're calmly casting to some nice rises or exploring a run. THERE! Off in the outer limits of your "comfort zone," a splashy rise. You try to get your fly there, but everything is wrong. In the thrill of the moment the basics can get waylaid.

Some of the basics that are overlooked: (as always, imho)

  • This is supposed to be fun and relaxing. (so relax and have fun)

  • We can't throw a fly 65 feet (try it), we cast the line, the fly just goes along for the ride.

  • Only line speed can load a properly balanced rod. (that is to say, make the rod work as it was designed to).

  • This is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

  • Wet flies can float and dry flies can (will) sink.

  • If you're having trouble timing the casting stroke with 35 feet of line out, pulling out another 15 feet of line won't usually help.

  • If your tired, rest a bit, this is supposed to be fun.

  • When technical casts start falling apart, go back to the basics and start over again.

  • This is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

If you feel like you're in a rut or you just seem to be making more wind knots than normal, try relaxing, shorten up your casts, cast some bigger flies that you can see. I like to pull out some "older" rods. Lighter and more supple, they "force" me to slow down my (usually over zealous) casting stroke.

Or call up a friend or instructor. It's amazing how much we can forget over time.

Most of all, relax and have fun. After all, if you're not having fun, you might as well go back to the office.

And in my case, as I've always said, "If I'm not having fun at my day job, I'll just leave and go fishing."

Side bar: In no way would I ever try to pass myself off as a qualified instructor in fly fishing. I just like to observe life in general and LF & JC are kind enough to let me write about it here. ~ Christopher Chin – Jonquiere Quebec

About Chris:

Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops, British Columbia. He has been fly fishing on and off ever since he was 10 years old. Chris became serious about the sport within the last 10 years.

"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in central Quebec. I've been fishing this river for about 10 years now and started guiding about 5 years ago when the local guide's association sort of stopped functioning."

Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon. "I often don't even charge service fees, as I'm more interested in promoting the river than making cash. I like to get new comers to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around here makes some of the old clan see Salmon fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack Daniel's."

Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend, Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent started fly fishing with me last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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